Dabre Damo monstery

debredamoDebre Damo is the name of a flat-topped mountain, or amba, and a 6th-century monastery in northern Ethiopia. The mountain is a steeply rising plateau of trapezoidal shape, about 1000 by 400 meters in dimension. It sits at an elevation of 2216 meters above sea level. It is located the Tigray Region.

The monastery, accessible only by rope up a sheer cliff, is known for its collectionof manuscripts and for having the earliest existing church building in Ethiopia still in its original style. Tradition claims the monastery was founded in the sixth century by Abuna Aregawi.

Debre Damo had also once been a royal prison for heirs to the Emperor of Ethiopia, like the better known Wehni and Amba Geshen. The exterior walls of the church were built of alternating courses of limestone blocks and wood, “fitted with the projecting stumps that Ethiopians call ‘monkey heads.’” Once inside, Pakenham was in awe of what he saw.

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